Thursday, 10 December 2015

Police Avert Bloody Clash In Bayelsa


THE police in Bayelsa State yesterday averted a bloody clash between Peoples Demo Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) supporters over the cancelled Southern Ijaw poll in the botched Decem­ber 5 governorship election

The Independent Na­tional Electoral Commis­sion (INEC) on Monday cancelled the election, cit­ing widespread irregulari­ties, a decision which was endorsed by 14-candidates. The electoral body released results of seven of the state’s eight local govern­ments on Monday.

Sunnews reports that thousands of APC sup­porters yesterday staged a peaceful protest demanding for the release of Southern Ijaw results.

The youths who barricad­ed major roads in the state also demanded the imme­diate sack of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr Baritor Kpagih. PDP youths that had mobi­lized for a counter protest were stopped by the police, appealing to them that it would trigger crisis in the state.

The youths who chanted solidarity songs said the REC erred in cancelling an election that had been conducted with results col­lated and pasted in various wards.

On sighting the crowd of protesters, security op­eratives deployed around INEC premises took their positions while an Ar­moured Personnel Carrier (APC) moved towards the crowd to stop them at the entrance of the road lead­ing to the office. Policemen with shields barricaded the road.

Leader of the protesters, Mr. Famous Daumenighe, said the youths had come to deliver a message to the commission in a peaceful and orderly manner.

Meanwhile, the Bayelsa Restoration Campaign Or­ganisation ( BYRCO) has condemned the attempt by APC to instigate crisis which it said could lead to the declaration of a state of emergency.

The Director of Public­ity of the BYRCO of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Jonathan Obuebite, described the protesters as “thugs” and “hoodlums,” calling on the Commission­er of Police and other heads of other security agencies to take urgent steps to check the protest by APC mem­bers.

In a related development, INEC is weighing its op­tions on the inconclusive governorship election.
This is even as petitions calling for the cancellation of the entire election has flooded the national head­quarters of INEC in Abuja.

INEC had released re­sults of seven local govern­ment areas with Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of the PDP leading former governor Timipre Sylva of APC with 33, 153 votes be­fore Mr Kpagih cancelled the election in Southern Ijaw.

Investigations revealed that the Bayelsa situation has thrown INEC into con­fusion especially with the threat by the APC to head to court to compel INEC to declare the result.

Kpagih was said to have been summoned to Abuja after cancelling the election and he had tabled the rea­sons for his decision after consultation with some na­tional commissioners.
Accordingly, INEC has decided to investigate the election particularly with the damming verdict by the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) which said the poll cannot pass cred­ibility test.

INEC ad-hoc staff that were deployed in Southern Ijaw have been invited to write a report on what actu­ally transpired to help the commission take a final de­cision on the issue.
Meanwhile, 14 gover­norship candidates have backed INEC over the can­cellation of the Southern Ijaw election and its deci­sion to reschedule it.

The governorship candi­dates include Prince Oniek­pe (SDP), Brisibe Kpodoh (ADC), Gabriel Tukuwei (ACPN) Golden Agagao­wei (Kowa) Prince Elemah (ID) , Alex Peretu (PPA), Enu Otonye (PPN) and Ed­win Tare (DPP).

The governorship candi­dates at a news conference yesterday while declaring that the election in most parts of the states peace­ful, condemned what they called “massive and monu­mental fraud, outright rig­ging and stealing of elec­toral materials”

Meanwhile, one of the observer groups in the botched election, Lawyers in Defence of Democracy, has called for the immedi­ate probe of the roles of the military and the police.

Also, the Committee for Democracy and Rights of the People has called on President Muhammadu Bu­hari to remove the INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmud, over the alleged misconduct of some offi­cials of the commission in the last governorship elec­tions in Kogi and Bayelsa states.


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